Media attacks against Michael J. Madigan hide their wealth-interests

Media attacks against Michael J. Madigan hide their wealth-interests 5.00/5 (100.00%) 5 votes

Media attacks against Michael J. Madigan hide their wealth-interests

By Ray Hanania

RayHananiaColumnBox(Syndicated Chicago column. If you would like to republish Ray Hanania’s award winning columns in your newspaper, email [email protected])

When you talk about sipping from the “political trough,” it doesn’t come anywhere near the gulping that takes place at the corporate trough.”

And in Illinois, we’re witnesses to a big battle that has been brewing for years between those politicians blasted for sipping from the “political trough” by the corporate robber barons who gulp from their “corporate trough.”

It’s a funny thing about power. Mostly, the very wealthy have it.

So when Michael J. Madigan, the Speaker of the Illinois House, proposed a referendum be placed on the ballot this November, asking voters if they support increasing the tax on the rich, the rich came out in force against it and him.

The rich are formidable foes that include the owners of the Chicago news media, like the Chicago Tribune, which have run ongoing attacks against Madigan for years. Madigan is a Democrat and the Tribune is Republican.

I was there as a community reporter when the late Michael A. Bilandic introduced Madigan, then a young member of the Illinois Legislature, to a gathering of Chicago’s business elite in 1977 at the Conrad Hilton. Bilandic told the gathering that Madigan was “one of the up and coming leaders” of the legislature.

Michael MadiganBilandic wasn’t good at handling crisis, but he had a keen eye for political talent. And Madigan, who was elected to represent the blue collar former 22nd legislative district on the Southwest Side in 1971, had already made a name for himself in Springfield targeting the wealthy.

Madigan today is probably the most influential government official in the state of Illinois. He’s a champion of the middle class, whom the rich exploit.

Every week, the news media has been bashing Madigan. But the criticism is self-serving, because the Tribune is owned by the wealthiest people in America.

Last year, the Chicago Tribune stumbled out of bankruptcy when it was taken over by some of the wealthiest people on this planet, Oaktree Capital Management, Angelo, Gordon & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., who bailed out the Tribune as senior creditors.

JPMorgan Chase is publicly traded, but the chairman is Jamie Dimon, whose $23 million wage earnings in 2011 made him one of the highest paid CEOs in the country. In 2013, Dimon made $20 million.

The Tribune Tower in Chicago.Howard Marks heads Oak Tree Capital Management, which is also publicly traded, and his personal wealth is estimated this year at more than $2 billion.

In 2007, the Tribune was purchased by mega billionaire Sam Zell, one of the country’s wealthiest individuals, for $8.2 billion. But his political style trashed the company and the value dropped to $4.5 billion in the reorganization.

The Tribune remains a major corporation, owning 23 television stations, including WGN-Ch. 9, WGN America, eight daily newspapers and several other media assets. The last thing the rich robber barons at the Chicago Tribune want to do is pay more in taxes. And the Tribune knows that one way to keep their taxes down is to have their reporters beat the heck out of anyone who dares to tap on their purse strings.

Do you really think that the news media is being honest when it attacks Madigan, who is pushing to make the super wealthy pay more to ease the burden on the middle class?

When it comes to a choice between Madigan and the corporate robber barons, I’ll put my trust in Madigan.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and political columnist. He is the editor of The Illinois News For his bio, click here.)


Ray Hanania

Blogger, Columnist at Illinois News Network Online
Ray Hanania is senior blogger for the Illinois News Network online news site. He is an award winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist who covered the beat from 1976 through 1992 (From Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley).

In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. He hosted a live weekend Radio Show on WLS AM radio from 1980 through 1991, and also on WBBM FM, WLUP FM and shows on WSBC AM in Chicago and WNZK AM in Detroit.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. He currently is syndicated through Creators Syndicate and his column is feature every Sunday in the Saudi Gazette in Saudi Arabia. He has written for the Jerusalem Post,, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His Chicagoland political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News on several Chicagoland blogs including the and

Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

His personal website is Email him at: [email protected]